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How to Plan a Killer Technology Strategy for Your Association

Technology is one of the most powerful tools your association has at its fingertips. It allows you to communicate with and manage your members no matter their location. Let's talk tech!

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The tech world continues to control and shape the way associations and organizations all across the globe carry out their business. So, doesn’t it make sense to have a technology strategy in place to keep your association on top of the tech game?

That’s right, technology is one of the most powerful tools your association can take control of. It allows you to communicate with and manage your members no matter their location around the world. It also allows you to make things much more simple and less time consuming for your association as a whole. Why wouldn’t you want to make technology one of your main focuses?

But unfortunately, many organizations drop the ball in terms of technology. According to the Salesforce blog, a minimum 25% of nonprofit organizations prioritize technology to help with management and communication. That’s right, just a quarter of organizations are putting technology towards the top of their list- and if you’re not in that minority, you could be missing out on prime opportunities to engage with members and generate more long-term success for your association.

Getting on board with a strong technology strategy can help you navigate the tech world and find the best tools and resources to keep things going strong at your association. That’s why we’re providing you with a plan to get your technology in the right place.

So, if getting a jumpstart in the world of technology sounds like something you could benefit from, continue reading on for our tips on how to plan a killer strategy of your association’s own.

Step 1: Strategize your tech goals

The first step when developing any strategy is to figure out what your association’s goals are moving forward.

Technology has the capability of furthering your association’s success- if you let it of course. By carving out specific goals and prioritizing what you’d like to see from the technology you use, you can be sure your technology strategy satisfies the needs your association, your staff, and your members have.

In order to do this, you’ll have to analyze what technology tools you already have in place, as well as their function and their ability to meet staff/member needs. Any technology tools that are not functioning up to par with what your association would like should always be re-evaluated and possibly abandoned to make time for more lucrative tech tools.

If your association has an IT team or staff members, consider including them within your strategy sessions. With a team that works so closely with technology infrastructure, they should always be considered and included in any tech discussion. After all, your technology strategy will be servicing them, and they may have insight that your executives may not have considered

Once you have an idea of the technology you already have in place, you can then set your goals for the future.

Step 2: Create a tech budget

Once you have a set list of goals you’d like to accomplish with technology, you then need to make sure to create a budget that your association can stick to when purchasing tech tools and software.

With any introduction of technology to your association, there will come a cost. Whether that cost is hefty or easily manageable is up to your association, and budgeting said costs can help you get a better idea of what tools are most important, as well as where costs can be cut.

Fitting technology into your association’s already strict budget may feel impossible, which is why we recommend those with a tight budget to do some research and scout out low-cost technology tools. There are a wide variety of budget-friendly and even free technology tools, from social media to media scheduling softwares and almost anything you may find interesting.

However, those with room to spare in their annual budget should find a place for valuable technology software. Think about things like hardware, software, data conversion and organization, member training programs, and whatever else fits your association’s goals.

Again, prioritizing your goals can help you decide where your tech budget should be allocated. For example, if your association’s goal is to strengthen its membership, then budgeting in costs for membership management and engagement technology could be your best bet. However, if your goal is to create a more organized workflow, spending your budget on organizational software and member database tools might be the way to go.

With a budget in place, you’ll know exactly what your price range in when you start to research technology to implement.

Step 3: Do your research

Since the tech market is constantly booming, there are going to be multiple versions of the tools and software you’ve got your eye on. So how do you know the technology you’re selecting is the best deal for the money you’re spending?

Before making any quick decisions, you want to spend time researching what your association needs in terms of technology. Of course there will be many great tools and software your association can purchase, but you need to compare and contrast based on your association’s needs and desires in order to match up with your ideal technology.

What aspects of technology should you turn your focus towards? To start, you should always compare prices of similar technology, as well as the features they offer for the price they set.

Your association should want the best value for the price it’s paying. However, if you find a technology tool that is a lower price with less features, don’t count it out indefinitely. A higher priced tool with more features may include features that you don’t necessarily find useful, therefore making the lower quality option a better fit for your association and its budget.

You should also focus on important aspects like customer support, flexibility, customization, and other features that can make or break the technology you decide on.

Step 4: Evaluate your technology over time

Even though you may have just put together a strong technology strategy, that doesn’t mean your tech efforts should be put on the back burner from now on.

Making a conscious effort to keep track of and evaluate your technology use can help your association figure out what’s working well for its needs, and what may need to be tweaked in the future. If you can keep data on how well the technology you’re using is performing, as well as how it’s being received by members and other audiences, you’ll know whether or not you’re hitting the mark in terms of technology success.

With a fleshed out strategy in front of you, there’s no reason your association cannot make technology a priority in the near future.